Hollywood 'elite' admit role in glamorizing violence

May 03, 1994|By Brooks Boliek | Brooks Boliek,Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood's elite decision-makers are concerned by the industry's role in violence, according to a new poll.

The U.S. News & World Report and the UCLA Center for Communication Policy survey released Saturday found that more than half of Hollywood's elite say violence in the entertainment media is a serious problem and that almost all say violence in the media is a contributing factor to violence in American society. The poll's results will appear in the May 9 issue of U.S. News & World Report.

"The real feeling is they are concerned," said Jeffrey Cole, director of UCLA's Center for Communication Policy, who surveyed the Hollywood decision-makers.

The survey was mailed to 6,300 decision-makers in the industry and 867 people had returned the questionnaire by April 23, giving a response rate of 13.76 percent. Usually, response rates for surveys of this type run about 5 percent.

While the decision-makers, who Mr. Cole described as being "above the line executives" admit they have a role in influencing violent behavior, they are not the sole cause.

"What they are saying is that we have a role, but we are being singled out," Mr. Cole said.

Among the survey's findings:

* 59 percent of the Hollywood elite say violence in entertainment media is a serious problem; 79 percent of the general public say the interment media is a serious problem.

* 87 percent say violence in the media is a factor in contributing to violence in society (57 percent say it is a minor contributor and 30 percent say it is a major contributor, nearly mirroring the public's views).

* 65 percent of the public say Dan Quayle was essentially right when he said that the people who control television have little sympathy with traditional values whereas only 25 percent of Hollywood elite agree that he was right.

* 63 percent of the Hollywood elite criticize the industry for "glorifying" violence.

* 58 percent of the Hollywood elite admit to having avoided watching a program because of its violent content and 76 percent say they have discouraged their children from watching a violent show.

* Nearly three-fourths, 72 percent, of the Hollywood elite say the amount of violent programming on TV has increased.

* 45 percent of Hollywood elite say the overall quality of TV programming has worsened (24 percent say it has improved and 31 percent say it's remained the same).

While the responses from the elite were fairly uniform, there was a dichotomy between the television and movie industries, Mr. Cole said.

"The television people think that they have been getting most of the blame and that film has been getting somewhat of a free ride," he said.

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